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Canada and Newfoundland Affairs in 1903



[Canadian Annual Review, 1903; for full citation, see the end of the text]


The affairs of Newfoundland were discussed to a considerable extent in Canada during the year. The expected development in its timber resources; the local legislation encouraging coal and steel in­dustries; the failure of the United States Senate to approve the Bond-Hay Reciprocity Treaty; the Canadian suggestions as to acquiring   St Pierre and Miquelon; and the ever-recurrent advo­cacy of Confederation in the Dominion press; kept the Island well before the public. The year began with three new members in the Island Government - Hon. E. P. Morris, K.C., Hon. Eli Dawe and Hon. Henry Gear. Speaking at Sydney , N.S. , on Jan. 21st, Mr. R. L. Borden urged the importance of Canadian action along the lines of union and regretted that the Government were apparently doing nothing. "Why should not Canada take the initiative with the Mother Country with regard to an honourable settlement of French rights on Newfoundland 's shores? Why should she not do this in connection with effective steps for the union of Newfoundland with the Dominion of Canada?" In the House of Commons on Mch. 12th he made similar suggestions.


It may be added that the Newfoundland Legislature on Mch. 10th unanimously renewed the French Shore modus vivendi for another year and that towards the end of 1903 there were rumours of undoubted weight indicating a coming settlement of the questions at issue owing to the friendly relations then existing between England and France . Mr. A. B. Morine, K.C., the Opposition Leader, was interviewed at Halifax on Sept. 18th and stated        that Confederation would not be a question at the Island elections of the following year unless brought to the front by a third party, and it would then have small chance of success. On Nov. 3rd, it was announced in Newfoundland that Sir W. V. Whiteway, a former Premier, and Mr. Donald Morrison, K.C., who had lately resigned from the Bench, would join forces in organizing a new party with the ultimate though not immediate object of union with Canada .


In Toronto , on Nov. 23rd, Mr. J. M. Clark, K.C., addressed the Mulock Club on the advantages of union with Newfoundland . The Hon. Samuel Blandford, M.L.C., of St. John's, was interviewed at Quebec on Nov. 27th and declared that the Island would not make any advances in the matter; that she would have to receive her price; that the fishermen at present were opposed to it; but that it would eventually come. On Dec. 21st, the Toronto Globe contained a significant and apparently inspired despatch from Ottawa beginning as follows: "There is good reason to believe that the Canadian Government have under consideration the institution of negotiations having for their object the admission of Newfoundland and Greenland into Confederation."


Source: J. Castell HOPKINS , The Canadian Annual Review of Public Affairs, 1903, Toronto, The Annual Review Publishing Company, Limited, 1904, pp. 332-333.



© 2004 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College